Thai Airways on track for Stock Exchange return amid rehabilitation success

Photo by Cityswift via Flickr

Anticipations are high for Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) to make its comeback on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) in the coming year, as disclosed by Tibordee Wattanakul, the director-general of the State Enterprise Policy Office (SEPO). The national flag carrier’s liquidity is on the mend, and operations are systematically aligning with its rehabilitation plan. This positive shift is contingent on the airline recording a profit for 12 consecutive months and achieving positive equity.

The Finance Ministry clarified that it has no intentions of reinstating the company as a state enterprise while continuing to hold a stake of less than 50% in the struggling national carrier. Despite this, the state remains the majority shareholder of THAI.

Tibordee noted an improvement in THAI’s financial performance under the rehabilitation programme. The company has strategically limited its expenses by reducing its workforce by half and downsizing its fleet by approximately 40% via leasing.

The aviation industry faced a tremendous blow from the pandemic that spanned over two years, with THAI being one of the victims. In September 2020, the Central Bankruptcy Court approved a recovery plan when most of THAI’s fleet was grounded as a result of border closures, bringing air travel to a standstill. The airline’s total liabilities amounted to 200 billion baht (US$5.6 billion) as of September 30, 2020, reported Bangkok Post.

To stay afloat, the airline applied severe internal restructuring and instigated survival measures. These included generating additional revenue from unrelated businesses like selling food via THAI Catering, transportation of goods, and the sale of unused assets. Revenue was predicted to regain momentum as the pandemic receded in mid-2022.

In the second quarter of 2023, the carrier reported a nearly 2.3 billion baht (US$64 million) profit, marking a 20-year record and a year-on-year increase of 171%. The airline is projected to complete its rehabilitation by the fourth quarter of this year.

A resurgent tourism sector is instrumental to the recovery of the aviation industry. The Fiscal Policy Office announced on January 24 that foreign tourists, primarily from China and Malaysia, are expected to hit 33.5 million this year, a rise from 28 million in 2023, registering a 19.6% increase. Tourism revenue is projected at 1.48 trillion baht (US$41.5 billion), marking a 23.6% rise from the previous year.

In related news, THAI addressed a passenger’s complaint of a seating discrepancy in business class. The airline revised its service model, communicated with affected passengers, and improved ticket sales transparency.

Aviation NewsBusiness News

Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

Related Articles